Last week we reported on new guidelines sent out by the Associated Press, indicating that the words "husband" and "wife" should only be used to describe married gay couples if the couples themselves describe themselves that way, or if someone uses the term in a quote.
SAME-SEX COUPLES: We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves “husband” and “wife.” Our view is that such terms may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms (“Smith is survived by his husband, John Jones”) or in quotes attributed to them. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association subsequently published an open letter to the AP saying it found the guidance "troubling".
The AP then told Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner that it is holding firm:
AP spokesman Paul Colford told BuzzFeed Thursday evening, "This week's style guidance reaffirmed AP's existing practice. We've used husband and wife in the past for same-sex married couples and have made clear that reporters can continue to do so going forward."
Now GLAAD is taking a tougher line on the AP, demanding a "solution that carries more weight":
Without official clarification in the AP Stylebook, many reporters and editors – including those not with the AP – could look to the above paragraph as guidance, and would therefore apply that harmful double-standard to same-sex couples who are married.
We are well past the point of needing clarification to that one section of that internal memo. We need a solution that carries more weight. The AP should codify, in the official AP Stylebook, what seems (in practice, if not in that paragraph) to already be its preferred terminology for same-sex married couples.
Said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick:
"The AP needs to quit obfuscating and delaying and must fix its style guidance now so that reporters describe people in same-sex marriages accurately. That the Associated Press has let this issue drag on for a week is completely perplexing. What the hell is going on over on West 33rd Street?"